I am a historian chiefly of the political and ecclesiastical history of the Late Antique (Roman-Sasanian) and Medieval (Byzantine-Islamic) worlds, with the later Roman and then Byzantine Empire serving as my base of operations, so to speak, throughout this period. Currently, my research concentrates on the Eastern Mediterranean and Near East between the sixth and eighth centuries, but I am interested broadly in working on the intersection of political and ecclesiastical history in Greek, Latin, and Syriac texts within Western Eurasia up to 1204.
My doctoral thesis comprises a religious and social history of the Byzantines who remained in the Near East after the Arab-Muslim conquests of the mid-seventh century, wherein I focus on the communities of Egypt and Palestine from c. 680 to c. 710 CE under the Marwānid dynasty of the Umayyad Caliphate. In particular, my thesis is dedicated to the extant literary output of one monastic raconteur and disputant who flourished during this period: Anastasius of Sinai. Perhaps originally from Cyprus, he seems to have journeyed at some point in the mid-seventh century to the monasteries of Jerusalem, whence he moved to what is now known as St. Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai, using it as a headquarters for a career largely spent in early Islamic Egypt. Our chief Greek-speaking witness to life in the ex-Byzantine provinces in the decades following the Arab conquests, Anastasius's oeuvre represents a number of marked shifts in the way Chalcedonian Byzantine communities organized themselves ecclesiastically, sought patronage from their new rulers, engaged in religious polemic, and underwent social and ideological reorientation during the transition from Roman to Islamic hegemony. Moreover, many of his texts bear witness to an important period of change in early Islamic history, during which Islam began to be more publicly identified with the caliphate. Despite offering us an unusually wide array of historical material, the works of Anastasius have never been studied in toto with a view to his multiple and complex historical contexts - a lacuna my thesis aims to fill.
My degree has been generously funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation through the Stavros Niarchos Foundation DPhil Scholarship, providing me with full funding.
In order to best study the overall history of Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, I have undergone dual training in History and (historical) Theology: I hold a BA (summa cum laude) in Biblical Studies/Theology from Johnson University and an MPhil with Merit in Theology (Patristic Theology) from the University of Oxford. After training in historical theology at Oxford, I transferred to History proper. I gained an MA with Distinction in History (Late Antique and Byzantine Studies) from University College London, and in 2020, moved back to Oxford, where I am a currently a doctoral candidate in History (Late Antique and Byzantine Studies). Though primarily based in History, I have taught undergraduate courses in both disciplines, as well as courses in Elementary Greek and Latin.
My research interests include:
In general, the political and ecclesiastical history of the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire to 1453, and in particular:
the later Roman Empire in the ages of Justinian I (527-565) and Heraclius (610-641)
the Byzantine Empire in the era of iconoclasm (c. 680-850)
Byzantine ecclesiastical history between iconoclasm (850) and the Fourth Crusade (1204)
Early Islamic history and the political and administrative formation of the caliphate from the conquests to the Abbasids
The political and religious evolution of the Roman Near East to the early Islamic Near East
Greek and Syriac ecclesiastical and monastic letter collections in the Late Antique and early Medieval Eastern Mediterranean and Near East
In addition to my research expertise, I maintain an abiding interest in the early modern period; in particular, American, European, and Ottoman history.